Babies or infants sometimes go for a long period without bowel movements. This is a significant symptom of a colicky baby and constipated baby. What do you do when you discover that your child has some difficulty emptying his/her bowels? Above all, how can you tell that a baby is constipated or colicky? In this article, we shall be looking at the best formula for colic and constipation.
Colic is a severe abdominal pain usually composed of air in the intestine associated with feeding difficulties. Colic sometimes arises due to constipation. Colic isn’t a diagnosis, instead is an observation. So technically, a colicky baby is not a sick baby. He/she instead is a healthy baby reacting to excruciating belly pain. However, allergies and smoke can also trigger colic more or less. Knowing if a baby is colicky is simple, the baby starts to cry excessively consistently over a specific period.
Pediatricians have identified a method to know if a baby is colicky. They call it the “rule of threes,” crying bouts that start when a baby is about 3 weeks old frequently late in the day. This rule means that babies with a colic cry for three hours a day, for more than three days a week, and this can last three weeks or more.
Causes and Symptoms of Colic
There is no known cause of colic presently and why some babies experience it is still a mystery. Although some theories suggest possible causes. One of those theories is that some doctors see it as a natural developmental stage that babies go through as they adjust to all the different sensations and experiences that come with life outside the womb. Another theory suggests that colic may be caused as a result of the imbalance of bacteria in the gut of the baby.
Another theory which is a likely cause suggests that colic stems from an imbalance of the brain chemicals melatonin and serotonin. Serotonin makes intestinal muscles of colicky babies to contract. This hormone usually peaks in the evening. When a baby starts to produce more melatonin generally at 3 to 4 months old (around the same time colic disappears), it relaxes the intestinal muscles and strikes a balance.
It’s worthy to note that colic is only temporary and there are ways of managing it for the time being such as; swaddling, swooshing loudly in baby’s ear, swinging baby, providing a pacifier for the baby to suck, and laying her on her side or stomach. Pediatricians call it the “5 s”.
Constipation is a condition in which bowel evacuations occur infrequently or in which feces are hard and small or where the passage of feces causes pain. As a parent, it will become normal for you to have conversations with your spouse about your baby’s poop.
You begin to notice the timing and patterns at which your baby pass put. Some babies can poop as high as three to four times daily while others poop once or every other day. So it becomes easier to detect when your baby is ill or not. This is how you know if your baby is constipated or not.
Causes and Symptoms of Constipation
We know that infants or babies may go for an extended time without emptying their bowels. Parents find it challenging to ascertain if their baby is constipated or not.
Causes of constipation in babies are due to the immediate switch between a mother’s breast milk and baby formula. Breastfed babies find it easier to empty their bowels since the baby’s system find it easy to digest breast milk.
Once the baby is older, between 3 – 6 weeks old, passing out may take longer than usual. However, it doesn’t mean that the baby is constipated. With the introduction of formulas to the baby, he/she will have fewer bowel movements than a breastfed child. Their stools will be thicker and have a different, more greenish color.
This means they pass out even lesser than breastfed babies. Some may pass out once in a couple of days while others take more prolonged period. Most babies find it difficult to switch between these formulas and breast milk. Hence, they find it difficult to empty their bowels.
Another cause of constipation in babies is the introduction of solid foods after baby formulas or breast milk. A baby digestive system is not well developed yet to digest solid foods, so introducing solid foods immediately will change his/her diet and disturb his/her system. This will eventually lead to constipation. A baby may also be more likely to become constipated if a parent introduces cow’s milk to their diet.
Cow milk like solid foods is difficult to digest in a baby. Hence the baby experiences constipation. Once a parent notices these signs, it’s paramount to take the baby to a pediatrician as soon as possible. Symptoms that can indicate if a baby is constipated or not:
- Stools become infrequent and hard
- The belly becomes hard
- Stool can be a little bit bloody
- Hard pellets can be found on stools
- Since babies find it difficult to empty their bowels, during the process, crying becomes the order of the day
- Subsequent stools become clay-like
- Lack of appetite
These symptoms of constipation vary in babies depending on their age and diet. A healthy bowel movement before a baby begins eating solid food should be very soft. Among all the symptoms listed above, hard baby stool before solid food is the most apparent symptom of constipation in babies.
Considerations for picking the best formula for colic and constipation
While looking out for a suitable formula for colicky babies or constipated babies, certain factors determine your choice of baby formula. These include;
- Types of Formulas
For colicky babies, there are three main types of formulas available. These are; ready-to-use liquid formula, concentrated liquid infant formula, and powdered infant formula.
The ready-to-use liquid formula as the name suggests comes readily available feed bottles called nurseries. This formula is available in hospitals and is compatible with the mother’s nipples.
Concentrated liquid infant formula is not available as ready-to-use. You have to mix them in an equal quantity of water and formula before feeding. It is cheaper than the ready-to-use method and easy to use.
Powdered infant formula is a more common type amongst the three. You will need to dissolve it thoroughly in water before use, unlike concentrated liquid infant formula. It is the cheapest among the three listed.
- Source of Milk
Colic formulas are also dependent on the source of milk or protein. Cow milk is the most common type of milk source but doesn’t go down well with many kids. Most kids are sensitive to it even though a cow’s milk structure is similar to a mother’s breast milk. Except in the case of allergies, cow milk is highly recommended by pediatricians.
The lactose-free formula is suitable for babies as a result of ingestion of cow milk. Soy milk formulas, goat milk formulas are the hypoallergenic formula for babies that are allergic to cow milk or protein.
Most baby formulas in the market have FDA approval. It is still as a parent to ensure that the one you are purchasing is FDA approved. This way, you are sure that you trust the product. You also have to be careful to check if the formula is generically enhanced or not. A genetically enhanced formula can be dangerous to your baby.
If your baby has allergies, you must purchase a hypoallergenic formula.
Don’t just buy a colic formula for your baby, purchase one that will support his/her growth development. Endeavor to look out for formula with extra nutrients like DHA, ARA, or iron for building up of the immune system, brain, and vision development.
5 best formula for colic and constipation
Babies are intolerant to cow milk. Hence, they are sensitive to it. This sensitivity can be reduced by using this baby formula. With SimilacAlimentum Hypoallergenic Infant Formula, babies cry that arises due to cow milk are reduced to the minimum. The hypoallergenic feature ensures that predigested protein contained in the formula is broken down into small pieces to eliminate allergic reaction in most babies who are allergic to an alien protein like cow’s milk.
Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic Infant Formula has nutritional supplements and is helpful for babies who are colic or suffering from colic related symptoms. Infants with severe food allergies due to protein sensitivity can take this baby formula to eliminate these allergies.
Now available in a new value size that has over 60% more* which equates to more than 2 additional days of feeding per can** *63% more product as compared to Alimentum 12.1oz powder **2.4 extra days of feeding when compared to SimilacAlimentum 12.1 oz powder; average daily consumption of exclusive formula-fed baby over 12 month period vs 12.1 oz powder.
- SimilacAlimentum is nutritionally complete
- A hypoallergenic formula that helps eliminate food allergies
- The baby formula reduces colic related symptoms in babies those due to protein sensitivity
- The formula contains predigested milk protein, that is broken down into chums to eliminate allergic reactions in babies
- Starts reducing excessive crying due to cow’s milk protein sensitivity in most infants within 24 hours.
- Nutritionally complete helping with the baby’s development
- Hypoallergenic formula
- DHA and ARAcomponents are contained in them too
- Contains predigested milk protein.
- It’s is expensive
- Smell could be irritating.
Gerber Good Start Soothe formula is one of the best baby formula for colic out there. This baby formula is suitable for use by babies who aren’t breastfeeding enough or whose mothers are unable to breastfeed For fussiness, colic, and gases that build up in the baby as a result of the baby crying, Gerber Good Start Soothe (HMO) Non-GMO Powder Infant Formula is one of the best formula designed to solve such problems.
This formula has small comfort proteins that easily digestible. The proteins blend with a small percentage of lactose to reduce fussiness and gas. It contains Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO)that support the digestive system and aid in the developing immune system of the baby according to research.
This infant formula is probiotics. Probiotics are essential natural bacteria that is found in breast milk. Colic arises in babies due to the absence of this probiotics in the mother’s womb. The presence of probiotics in this infant formula increase good bacteria in baby’s digestive gut and improve the general health of the digestive system. Gerber Good Start Soothe formula has exclusive comforting probiotic L reuteri which has been clinically shown to reduce crying time in colicky babies. This formula is rich in DHA, an essential ingredient that aids in the brain development of the baby.
- Offers complete nutrition to babies who are deficient in breast milk. This formula provides nutrition up to a year for babies experiencing colic, excessive crying, fussiness & gas.
- A probiotic formula that improves the good bacteria in the digestive tract & promotes soft stools.
- Comfort proteins and a blend of carbohydrate with 30% lactose to help minimize fussiness and gas.
- · Reduces crying and soothes colicky babies
- Small proteins are easily digestible by the baby’s underdeveloped digestive system
- Rich in DHA that improved the brain development
- Can cause constipation in some babies
Another great product from Similac, Similac Sensitive for Neuro Support Non-GMOInfant Formula is an easy-to-digest,milk-based formula specially designed for sensitive babies. It’s a complete nutrition for the baby’s first 12 months. Formulated with Iron, this formula has a blend of DHA, Lutein, and Vitamin E to help improve your baby’s brain & eye development. Similac Sensitive is non-GMO and has no artificial growth hormones, making it perfect for babies. Ingredients are not genetically engineered as well.
- LactoseSensitivity: SimilacSensitive for Neuro Support is a gentle formula designed to ease baby’s fussiness and gas build-up due to lactose sensitivity. This baby formula is not suitable for infants or children with galactosemia
- Neuro support: Similac Sensitive for Neuro Support is blended with DHA, Lutein, and Vitamin E to help support brain & improve eye development
- Trusted formula: Similac Sensitive for Neuro Support is a product of a credible and renowned infant formula company, know for producing baby formulas
- No artificial growth hormones: Similac is an infant formula brand with no synthetic growth hormones
- Non-GMO: Similac Sensitive for Neuro Support has ingredients that are not genetically engineered.
- Not genetically engineered
- DHA and Lutein molecules help in the development of the brain and eye
- No artificial growth hormones
- Can cause constipation and stomach upset in babies
Manufactured by a famous infant baby brand, Similac Sensitive Infant Formula is a Pro-Advance and Pro Sensitive formula that includes 2’-FL Human Milk Oligosaccharide, (HMO) an immune-nourishing prebiotic previously only found in breast milk.
Similac Sensitive Infant Formula is an easy-to-digest, milk-based formula designed for sensitive tummies. This baby formula is a nutritionally complete formula designed to ease fussiness and gas build-up due to lactose sensitivity and features exclusivelyOptiGRO, a blend of DHA, Lutein and Vitamin E to help support the baby’s overall growth, brain, eye development. Please note this is not for infants with galactosemia.
- SimilacSensitiveInfant Formula has no artificial growth hormone. Hence, it is safe
- Similac Sensitive Infant Formula is a milk-based formula for your baby’s first year that is specially designed for fussiness and gas due to lactose sensitivity
- Features OptiGRO, an exclusive blend of DHA, Lutein and Vitamin E, particular nutrients found that are important for aiding baby’s brain and eye development and overall growth.
- Not genetically engineered
- DHA and Lutein molecules help in the development of the brain and eye
- No artificial growth hormones
- Some babies tend to get constipated after taking it
Infants are different. While some infants don’t have challenges digesting small quantity of lactose(the sugar found in cow milk), others do irrespective of the amount of lactose. The latter while taking lactose might be insensitive to it and will start to experience hard pooping, colic, gas build-up, and constipation. Love &Care Sensitivity Non-GMO Milk-based Powder Infant is a low-lactose non-GMO formula designed for baby’s first 12 months.
This baby formula contains antioxidant vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, C, E, and Zinc for immune support and development. Love & Care sensitivity features a blend of nutrients such as DHA, Lutein and Vitamin E found naturally in breast milk for brain and eye development: DHA, Lutein, and Vitamin E. DHA supports brain development and visual development.
Lutein is a naturally occurring carotenoid and antioxidant that is concentrated in the eye. Vitamin E is a nutrient that plays a role in healthy cellular growth. A sensitive formula that includes 2’ fucosyllactose, Human Milk Oligosaccharide, (HMO) an immune-nourishing prebiotic previously only found in breast milk.
- Not genetically engineered
– Human Milk Oligosaccharide, (HMO)
– Features essential nutrients like DHA, Lutein, Vitamin E helps in brain and visual development
– Love & Care Sensitivity Non-GMO is designed for the first year of the baby
– Eliminates baby fussiness, colic, and gas
– Not genetically engineered
– DHA and Lutein molecules help in the development of the brain and eye
– No artificial growth hormones
– Some babies are sensitive to the formula. Hence, it can cause them constipation and stomach upset.
Colic and constipation can be very uncomfortable to a baby and a disturbance to parents who are just having a baby for the first time. To save your baby from these frequent cries, hard stool, and belly pain, purchase a colic baby formula from the list reviewed. These colic formulas will not only reduce colic but aid in the overall development of the baby’s vision and brain.